Fringe Review: The Ukrainian Dentist’s Daughter
As Maya, the protagonist of Yana Kesala's moving one-woman show The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter, says at the start, “It's funny the stuff you remember. It's funny too the stuff you forget.” Mya doesn't seem to forget a moment; we first meet her in 1946 as a 3-year-old girl playing amid the rubble of post-war Berlin, then flash forward to her wedding day in 1967 New York. Waiting at the altar for her absent groom to (hopefully) arrive, Maya bounces back and forth in time, sharing rememberances of two opposing forces in her life — the doting dentist dad she idolized, and the unyielding mother that dragged her to Catskills resorts in search of a “Ukie” husband.
Maya derides herself as a “tall curly haired Bigfoot [from] Ukrainian peasant stock,” but Kesala beaming grin and expressive eyes are magnetically beautiful as the pull us into her past. Her journey, based on Kesala's own mother's life story, manages to be emotionally engaging without becoming cloying or navel-gazing. Fluid character transitions, perfectly synchronized with simple but effective lighting shifts, transport the audience across time and space with just a subtle change of Kesala's countenance. The show ends on cliffhanger with an enigmatic sound cue, but what it lacks in narrative closure, it more than makes up for in emotional depth. One of this Fringe's best bets for heartfelt, intimate drama.
Note: This review is based on a preview performance that the press was invited to attend.
The Ukrainian Dentist's Daughter
Radiant Moxie (Seattle, WA)
Run Time: 55 minutes
Genre: Comedy, drama, solo-show, storytelling
Fri, May 17 2013, 7:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Sat, May 18 2013, 1:15p.m. – 2:15p.m.
Sun, May 19 2013, 2:45p.m. – 3:45p.m.
Tue, May 21 2013, 5:45p.m. – 6:45p.m.
Thu, May 23 2013, 6:45p.m. – 7:45p.m.
Sat, May 25 2013, 11:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.
Sun, May 26 2013, 12:30p.m. – 1:30p.m.